UPDATE: Heat, Raptors in trade talks for Lowry?

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher said the Heat and Raptors are close on a deal that would send Kyle Lowry to the Heat for Norris Cole and draft picks.

UPDATE: Bucher apologized and said that his report that a Miami Heat sign-and-trade for Kyle Lowry was "imminent" is wrong.

Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher reported Friday that a sign-and-trade transaction that would send Kyle Lowry to the Miami Heat for Norris Cole, cash and draft picks is "imminent." The deal, of course, cannot be officially consummated until after July 1, when Lowry will become a free agent. But Bucher's source is quoted as saying that "Lowry will be a member of the Heat."

Miami's financial positioning remains nebulous, as Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh (and for that matter, Udonis Haslem) have not notified the team whether they will opt out of their contracts. Teams that are below the salary cap -- which would be the case if all three follow LeBron James and opt out -- are freed for the NBA rule that forces trades to have roughly matching salaries for each team. Miami's position as a team with salary cap room in 2010 allowed Pat Riley to acquire James and Chris Bosh for simple draft picks.

Bucher said that Bosh is expected to opt out, and that the Raptors are expected to meet with him about possibly luring the perennial All-Star back to Toronto. Last night, Bucher tweeted that Bosh would indeed opt out and return to Toronto, a claim he did not reiterate in his article today.

Bucher did say that Miami's dream scenario remains to add Carmelo Anthony to the Big Three. Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears reported today that Anthony will meet with several teams to discuss possible destinations, and Miami was not among those listed teams.

Whew. What to make of all this? Lowry made $6.2 million last year and is coming off a borderline All-Star season. I doubt that Bosh would leave Miami -- especially for Toronto. Keep in mind that Wade, Bosh and James signed less-than-maximum deals in 2010 specifically so the team could fit Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem under the cap as well before the Heat were limited to offering minimum-salary deals to players. We could see the same occur with the Big Three taking less money so Lowry can also sign with the team. But we still don't know whether Bosh and Wade will opt out.

Replacing Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole with Lowry and Shabazz Napier would represent a significant upgrade at point guard for Miami. Miami still needs to add another backup wing player to fill in the Mike Miller/Shane Battier role even if Allen elects to return and a serviceable big man, but adding a 28-year-old borderline All-Star and a quality rookie would probably keep Miami atop of the East, even if Chicago signs Anthony.

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